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Nevada Today

Nevada Today is a nonpartisan, independently owned and operated site dedicated to providing up-to-date news and smart analysis on the issues that impact Nevada's communities and businesses.

COVID-19HealthNews and informationThe Economy

COVID-19 Update: Stubbornly Stable

COVID-19 continues to spread, and America continues to try to find our way out of this pandemic. Here’s the latest on our overall COVID-19 outlook.

Today’s Nevada COVID-19 check-up: Nevada’s overall outlook appears stable. Infections, hospitalizations, and deaths appear stable. Most rural areas are trending lower, but Clark and Washoe Counties are suffering higher infection rates. And finally, over 54% of Nevadans are now fully vaccinated.
COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccines, vaccine science, health care
Photo by Andrew Davey

According to Covid Act Now, Nevada’s statewide COVID-19 infection rate slipped a bit to 1.06, meaning that every 100 COVID-19 infections will lead to 106 new infections. Elko (0.77), Lincoln (0.79), White Pine (0.79), Carson City (0.88), Lyon (0.88), Lander (0.90), Humboldt (0.92), Mineral (0.94), Nye (0.98), and Douglas (0.99) Counties all have infection rates under 1.00, while Pershing County is at 1.00 exactly, and Clark (1.05) and Washoe (1.10) Counties suffer more rapid spread. Statewide, we’re seeing 21.9 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 per day. Storey (6.9) has a lower caseload, while Clark (17.8), Eureka (21.1!), Carson City (25.0!), Lyon (27.1!), Douglas (28.0!), Washoe (28.1!), Lander (28.4!), Pershing (34.0!), Nye (34.4!) Elko (35.2!), White Pine (44.7!!), Churchill (68.8!!!), Lincoln (146.1????!!!!), and Humboldt (161.3????!!!!) Counties are all reporting over 10 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 per day.

According to the official Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 data tracker, Nevada’s 14-day test positivity average based on “new positives as a percentage of new test encounters” ticked higher to 7.58%. According to the Mayo Clinic, our statewide seven-day test positivity average has stabilized at 9.91%. According to the Scripps Institute’s Outbreak.info, the Delta variant (B.1617.2) remains dominant: Delta and its sub lineages account for at least 89% of new cases in the last 30 days, at least 92% of new cases in the last 60 days, and about 82% of Nevada’s confirmed COVID-19 cases since February. 

This week, our COVID-19 hospitalizations are up again. According to Nevada Health Response, our hospitals are treating 633 confirmed COVID-19 patients and an additional 92 patients who probably have COVID-19, for a total of 725 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalized patients. Nevada public health officials are reporting a total of 7,844 confirmed COVID-19 deaths as of mid-day today, and we’re averaging about 10 COVID-19 deaths per day.

According to the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker (as of yesterday), 4,623,430 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to Nevada, and 3,814,226 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered and recorded. 2,001,470 patients have received at least one vaccine dose, meaning an estimated 65% of Nevadans (and more specifically, about 75.9% of all Nevadans aged 12 and up, and 77.9% of Nevada adults) have at least initiated the vaccination process, and 1,657,985 Nevada patients are now fully vaccinated, meaning an estimated 53.8% of Nevadans (and more specifically, 63.2% of all Nevadans aged 12 and up, and 65.3% of Nevada adults) are fully vaccinated. (Editor’s Note: I got my own COVID-19 vaccine booster shot late last month, and here’s where you can read more about my own booster experience.) 

How bad is our COVID-19 outbreak now? Here’s some global perspective.
COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccines, vaccine science, health care, travel
Photo by Andrew Davey

According to Covid Act Now, Nevada ranks 21st in the nation (from least to most) in daily caseloads, 36th (from lowest to highest) in test positivity, and 26th (most) in vaccinations. For the most part, Nevada ranks squarely in the middle of the pack.

According to Covid Act Now, the best ranking states on caseloads and test positivity are a mix of highly vaccinated states and states where the Delta Surge already burned through, while much of the Midwest and West are experiencing another surge. Then when we examine data on COVID-19 deaths (via The Washington Post and The New York Times), Nevada ranks 17th worst on daily deaths per 100,000. When we cross-check these data with Covid Act Now’s vaccination data, we can see that the most vaccinated states tend to consistently have low daily death rates while states with lower vaccination rates are more prone to suffer spikes in COVID-19 deaths depending on where the next infection surge ramps up.

health care, COVID-19
Photo by Andrew Davey

We’ve seen plenty of analysis and “hot takes” over the political geography of America’s COVID-19 landscape. Yet when we zoom out to the rest of the world, we see a more disturbing picture of America’s ongoing struggle to overcome COVID-19. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Our World in Data, and Worldometers.info, the U.S.’ average daily caseload, hospitalizations, and death rate remain well above those in most of the rest of the developed world – think of countries like South Korea, Australia, Germany, and Canada, where public health guided governments’ COVID-19 response far more than partisan political interests. And despite America getting a very early head start over most of the rest of the world on vaccinations, the above listed countries and several more highly developed countries have leapt ahead of the U.S. on vaccinations.

While bad faith actors love to “debate” the politics of COVID-19 and public health, we continue to suffer the consequences of subjecting public health policy to partisan polarized political games. Though the entire world continues to suffer ebbs and flows of new COVID-19 infection surges, America’s pandemic experience has become a much more severe and deadly roller coaster ride as our public health gets minimized into just another “culture war” battle.

Finally, some odds and ends… And some more CDC data
Steve Sisolak, COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine, mask
Photo by Andrew Davey

Nevada’s larger mask rule for publicly accessible indoor spaces continues to be updated weekly based on two weeks’ worth of CDC COVID-19 transmission data. 13 of Nevada’s 17 counties show high transmission and Humboldt County is down to substantial transmission, so the vast majority of the state will probably remain under the mask mandate. Meanwhile Esmeralda County is back down to low transmission, and Eureka and Lander Counties are down to moderate levels. If these recent drops hold for Esmeralda, Eureka, and Lander Counties, they will exit the universal mask mandate Friday next week.

After a volatile summer, Nevada’s vaccination rate continues to fluctuate. According to CDC data, our seven-day moving average of daily vaccine doses administered has rebounded again to 9,827. This marks a mere 93.14% increase from our July 10 record low at 5,088, and this marks a 4.89% drop from our October 29 high of 10,332. It’s possible that we first got a rebound at least partially due to already vaccinated patients seeking booster shots, but perhaps the recent eligibility expansion to younger children is helping to sustain this higher vaccination rate.

If you have further questions about COVID-19 and your health, check Immunize Nevada for more information on vaccine availability in your area, check Nevada Health Response for testing in your area, and check Nevada 211 for more health care resources. If you’re in need of additional aid, check the Nevada Current’s and Battle Born Progress’ resource guides. If you can afford proper treatment and you are fortunate enough to help others in need, please donate to larger operations like Direct Relief and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, and to local groups like Three Square. And for goodness sake, please maintain best practices to help stop the spread.

The cover photo was taken by me.

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